6 Indigenous Picture Books to Celebrate and Educate!

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We just celebrated Indigenous People’s Day here in the Seacoast and November is Native American Heritage month. Could there be a better time to highlight some amazing Indigenous picture books? Indigenous authors and illustrators in North America are finally becoming more widely published. I am so grateful for these colorful stories of passion and connection. Check out some of my recent favorites to celebrate and educate all year long! 

Celebrate …

Josie Dances Book Cover - indigenous picture booksJosie Dances by Denise Lajimodiere (Ojibwe/Turtle Mountain Band) and Angela Erdrich (Ojibwe/Turtle Mountain Band).  

Josie has been waiting her whole life for the time to dance at the Powwow. The year before, women of her family prepare her for all she needs for her first dance. Gorgeous illustrations paired with a joyful story of growing up are a celebration in their own right! 

Fry Bread Book CoverFry Bread: A Native American Family Story. by Kevin Noble Millard (Seminole Nation, Mekusukey band) and Juana Martinez-Neal.

Fry bread is more than just a delicious warm food. It is a symbol of all that makes family strong. This sweet book in verse is a great conversation starter about your own family’s food traditions as well as those of other cultures!

We All Play Book CoverWe All Play | kimêtawânaw by Julie Flett (Cree-Métis).

If you ever see a book by Julie Flett, pick it up. I love ALL of her work.This title says it all: WE ALL PLAY! A  joyful celebration of animals and children playing in the natural world. Written in Cree and English, this also makes a wonderful gift to any new babies and young children in your life.  

The Walrus and The Caribou book coverThe Walrus and the Caribou by Maika Harper (Inuit) and Marcus Cutler.

Inuit-Canadian actress, Maika Harper, has embraced the opportunity to share some of her culture’s folktales in picture book. A humorous folktale akin to How The Leopard Got Its Spots, this book is particularly fun for older preschool and early elementary children.  

…and EDUCATE.

We Are Water ProtectorsWe Are Water Protectors Carole Lindstrom (Anishinabe/Metis) and Michaela Goede (Tlingit).

Winner of the 2021 Caldecott Picture Book Award, this stunning book is inspired by the many Indigenous communities who fight to protect our planet’s water.  A powerful story of passion, commitment and community.  It is not to be missed.

We Are Still Here book coverWe Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know. Traci Sorell (Cherokee) and Frané Lessac.  

The reality is there are a lot of hard truths to be learned about Native American history.  I highly recommend this colorful nonfiction book about all of those things we may never have learned in school about Native American’s past, present and future. This is a gift for you and your elementary aged kids!

As always links to these Indigenous picture books are to Indiebound.org or check at your local library!

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